As has been widely reported, the July job numbers came in somewhat weaker than expected, with job growth of just 113,000. This is the fourth consecutive month in which job growth has hovered near 100,000.
However, the actual picture may be somewhat worse than the official data show. The reason is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may be imputing too many jobs into the survey for new firms that are not included in their sample.
Phase II. As General Peter Pace and General John Abizaid told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that Iraq was on the verge of civil war, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts was complaining to The New York Times that the White House was obstructing the declassification of two new sections of his committee�s long awaited Phase II inquiry into the administration�s use of pre-war intelligence.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE ANTI-REGULATOR. This week, the president announced his nomination of the Mercatus Institute's Susan Dudley as federal regulatory czar. In an administration packed with fox-guarding-henhouse scenarios, this is one the most extreme -- and the president just may install her, John Bolton-style, through a recess appointment.* Genevieve Smith brings us the gory details.
SOCIALLY LIBERAL, FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE. I find Jonah's derision of the socially liberal, fiscally conservative viewpoint baffling. Not because the perspective isn't generally confused -- it is, for reasons I'll go into in a moment -- but his reasoning is so self-evidently addled. So as far as I can tell, he's relying on an old Derbyshirecolumn explaining that socially liberal policies necessitate fiscal liberalism because, for instance, liberalizing views towards homosexuality leads to AIDS, which leads to money spent on treatment. Which makes sense.
THE CASE FOR RECEIPTS. It's obvious now that Mountaineer Mike has never been a daily sportswriter, particularly one sentenced to six weeks at spring training in a place like Winter Haven, the least-charming place in Florida, the Designer Mudflap Capital Of The Known Universe, the heartbeat of that part of the Sunshine State we like to call Baja Mississippi. Anyway, let me make it quite clear -- you save receipts for EVERYTHING. Sportswriter pals of mine have been known to submit -- and be reimbursed for -- ATM fees. If you don't, then They -- the big They, the beancounting bastards who run our lives -- will save the company money, and no self-respecting journalist ought to be in the business of saving the company money.
CRYING FOR JOE. It's important to take a little history into a weekend in which I can guaran-damn-tee you the plight of poor Weepin' Joe Lieberman is going to render the Sabbath panel shows into the tear-jerking narrative spawn of Mildred Pierce and Judas Iscariot. Oh, the sights we're going to see. Oh, the things we're going to hear. (There also likely will be some incredibly dumb things about Mel Gibson, and about Oliver Stone's new movie, which my moles tell me is brilliant, but which is going to get waved around like a cudgel by people who, not very long ago, thought Stone was Leni Riefenstahl on psilocybin.
UNEXPECTING THE EXPECTED. "Two top U.S. generals said yesterday that the sectarian violence in Iraq is much worse than they had ever anticipated and could lead to civil war," reportsThe Washington Post. It's good to see some reality creeping in. At the same time, it's worth noting that this outcome was fairly widely predicted by observers outside of the U.S. government.
COMPLETELY OFF-MESSAGE FRIDAY AFTERNOON POST. I noticed a couple weeks ago that Kevin Drum had a post laying out his wise strategy for avoiding sales clerks. So if he can do that one, I can unload with this.
What bugs me is receipts. In this town, sales clerks everywhere are ceaselessly forcing sales receipts into your hand. What the hell is this about?
OH, I SEE THE DIFFERENCE. Over at the Corner, they�ve been trying to poke holes in E.J. Dionne�s Postcolumn today about the collapse of conservatism. The most beguiling entry is by Kate O�Beirne:
E.J.'s eulogy for conservatism�recognizes that moderates in the largely conservative party have to be accommodated. True. That's the fate of a governing majority party. The alternative - a destructive purge to purify the ranks of the minority party - is on display in Connecticut.
PREDICTIONS. As I've come of political age in the Bush era, I'm never comfortable watching expectations rise, my historical memory being an uninterrupted cycle of lifted optimism followed by dashed hopes. That said, with more and more pundits predicting a Democratic landslide, it's worth noting that there's a self-fulfilling aspect to these declarations. The stronger the conventional wisdom that Democrats are going to retake Congress, the more business and funders will seek to get on the good side of the coming majority party, and the less they'll see Republicans as a good investment.